Week 9 Preview: what you need to know

The Central Division heats up


It’s a busy week in the Central Division – everyone except OKC Energy and Atlanta United 2 has a double-game week, with OKC off in the midweek slate of games and Atlanta resting this weekend.

Everything kicks off tonight with the erratic Indy Eleven hosting the equally erratic Pittsburgh Riverhounds (7:00pm). Indy has just 1 point from its last three games and needs a mental boost, while Pittsburgh is just below the playoff line and looks to jump up in the standings. Then the Wednesday lineup is…long. Obviously the game we all have our eyes on is the Legion’s match at Louisville City (6:30pm, my68, ESPN+), but also up are tilts between Tulsa and Sporting KC II (7:00pm) and between Memphis 901 and Atlanta United 2 (7:30pm). The Three Sparks can’t be knocked off the top perch, having a 4-point lead right now, but there could be some shuffling in the division before the weekend’s games.

Also up tomorrow night is Rio Grande Valley v. Austin Bold (7:00pm). The Bold are the visitors for Saturday’s Legion home game (6:30pm), so you may want to check them out after the Legion game is done. Austin are 2-2-2 right now and are up against the somewhat surprising Toros, who lead the Mountain Division with an impressive 16 points from 7 games.

Another non-divisional opponent is in the only Friday night game this week: The Miami FC travel to Charleston to play the Battery (6:00pm). Neither team has been spectacular this year, but you may want to keep an eye on Miami’s Speedy Williams.

More fun in the Central over the weekend: a key matchup, especially depending on tomorrow night’s result, is FC Tulsa hosting Louisville City (7:00pm Saturday). Tulsa are reeling right now, but could give the Legion a big hand if they take points from this one. Memphis 901 has OKC Energy at home (7:30pm Saturday) and is likely to extend the visitors’ painful winless streak, which will be at 336 days when they head to Tennessee. SKC II and Indy round out the weekend’s action on Sunday (4:00pm).

Outside the division, probably the best game of the weekend is likely to be RGV at San Antonio (7:30pm Saturday) which promises to be a tightly fought contest.

A couple of bonuses for Legion fans: for tomorrow night the Magic City Brigade is holding its regular viewing party, but not at the normal location. You can find them at Little London on Oxmoor Road and enjoy real British food while watching a British sport. Pretty sure they won’t be on the double decker bus though.

And then for Saturday, which is Juneteenth, the Legion will be honoring the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The BCRI will be holding its own festivities all day long, but the Legion will be wearing specially designed kits. The kits will include the new BCRI logo and look pretty sharp, to say the least. All game-worn jerseys will be auctioned after the game, with all proceeds going to the institute.

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